Joining 4.8 million Brits that are self-employed has been one of the best decisions that I ever made and I am often asked when did I know that it was the right time to take the plunge and work for myself. There are a number of personal decisions that led me to leaving teaching and taking the blog on full time. Namely that Erin was very often poorly. Not only did she undergo many operations for hip dysplasia but her asthma was very unpredictable and I was regularly being called home from school and we were frequent visitors to our GP and local children’s ward.
Somebody could be classified as self-employed if they
- own a business, rather than working for an employer
- agree a fixed price for their work with their employer or client
- decide on their own schedule when work is available
- can work for more than one client
- provide the tools, equipment or materials that are needed to complete a job
Self-employment can take many forms – including entrepreneurs and freelancers, gig economy workers or contractors. Shopkeepers, hairdressers, and cleaners make up a large percentage of the self-employed workers. Many of these are also women and I can fully understand why women take the plunge.
Being self-employed suits family life as I can work around the demands of my three children. I can attend all the hockey matches, school assemblies and after-school activities that I choose. I have also been able to get involved in voluntary work like being a school governor because of the flexibility I am afforded.
However, I also needed to know that I could afford to leave the security of a well-paid career. This blog was well established at this point but I set up Mums Savvy Savings to diversify what I was writing about. This enabled me to work with more brands and not pin everything on one source. There are a number of considerations when working from home especially if you need an online presence to build your business (and these days most self employed businesses need that presence).
These are the other important questions to ask yourself before taking the leap to full-time self-employment.
- Be very organised and keep accurate records as you are responsible for your own accounts and tax.
- Working online means understanding social media and building an online presence which takes time. You will also need to understand SEO or use a specialist service like Click Consult.
- Do you have savings to use if you have a lean month? Many struggle in the early years as they build up a client base. Can you manage when things are financially tough?
- Are you self-driven? Can you motivate yourself to search out opportunities, promote yourself and carry out the work to deadlines? Being self-employed requires ambition and drive. Many self employed people work long hours as there is so much hidden work to do behind the scenes.
- Do you have a product or service that is in demand? Research will help you understand whether there is a gap in your area. Blogging for example is often saturated now, do you have a unique angle or a niche. I can answer yes to both of these as Emma and 3 regularly covers parenting teenagers and also educational topics as I am a qualified teacher with many years experience, which is rather unique. Also Mums Savvy Savings is about personal finance and again this is niche.
There are many advantages to being self-employed and it can be very fulfilling just ensure that you do your research first.